ABC’s of Hiring #19: Optimizing LinkedIn

With 350MM worldwide users and growing every day, LinkedIn is not going away and is constantly expanding its services. Every professional needs to use this valuable, and still free, networking tool. Power has shifted from the resume to LinkedIn in terms of its effectiveness as a job searching tool. People with completed profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. Most companies today use LinkedIn first, to source candidates for their openings. To be found more often, consider these actions:

Complete your profile

Check your score and if it is below 100%, you should do whatever is required to improve your overall score.

Adjust your public URL

Adjust it is as close to your name as possible, e.g. to make it more reader and SEO friendly.


Your summary is more important than a resume summary and should be 2 or 3 times in length, reflecting your personal branding statement. A good way to structure this is to put the most noteworthy information in paragraph 1, important details in paragraph 2 and other background in paragraph 3. If the reader moves on after paragraph 1, they should still get a good feel for what you are about. Use ALL CAPS to emphasize what you want to stand out. LinkedIn doesn’t let you use bold or italics or other text formatting. Add in multimedia clips, samples of your work, links to pages on your website, blog, portfolio, presentations, publications, etc.

Company profile

If your company doesn’t have a completed company profile, consider creating one. It provides enriching information about the caliber and nature of the employer and their business. Use their website as your guide.

Professional headline

The professional headline that appears at the top of the profile just below your name is very influential. Prepare an accurate but attention getting headline to draw in the reader. Before you start, use LinkedIn’s Search tool to see what the most popular keyword searches are related to your industry. What search terms are they using? Think like they do so they can find you.

Privacy settings

Ensure your public profile is set to be visible to everyone and it will appear in search engine listings. Recruiters can then find you through Google searches. Share your connections with your connections as well.

Quality photo

People use LinkedIn to see how you present yourself in a business context. Use a good quality photo, or upper torso shot in business attire/business setting.


Get well worded specific recommendations from former supervisors. Your credibility is enhanced by offering a reliable reference that can be traced back to you. The more senior the person making the recommendation, the better.


LinkedIn experts claim that being active in LinkedIn group discussions will create more links back to your profile. This raises your search ranking and you will appear higher in search results giving you a better chance of being found. You can join 50 groups. Once you are a member of a group, you can contact anyone in that group directly even if you are not currently connected. This is a great way to introduce yourself to a hiring manager. You only get 15 of these per month, so use them wisely


Increasing your connections means you will appear higher in search results and can increase your chances of gaining an introduction via one of your connections, to a hiring manager, who is one of their connections.


Endorsements can help you and you can help others. Add skills in order of importance to you. As you endorse, or are endorsed, or make any changes to your profile, that activity shows in your newsfeed, creating more exposure for you.

Client security

Transfer your client contacts to a secondary contact database to protect ownership of your connections. This protects your network against any future changes with LinkedIn. Better to be safe than lose this data.


Autopilot for LinkedIn is a Google Chrome extension that can help you gain more visibility online, gain more connections, give you additional opportunities to introduce yourself to others and increase the number of people who will see your posts and updates. This tactic is aimed at leveraging the “Who’s viewed my profile” feature. Your name and profile information will show up in this section for your targeted list of contacts. They, in turn, become curious about who you are and will likely visit your profile or might even send you a connection request. After the free trial period, LinkedIn will charge you $19.99 per month to continue using it. For any job search, this may be a good interim investment.


Rapportive shows LinkedIn profiles and everything about your contacts right inside your Gmail inbox. Who is this? Where are they? What do they do? See their job, company and profile. The idea is to establish a rapport by mentioning shared interests, recent tweets, etc. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites. You can leave notes on their profile. This is another way to leverage your relationships that is built into your email for free.


Too many of us assume that people checking our LinkedIn profile will know who we are, what we do and the key products or services we provide just based on out profile title. Your LinkedIn background image is a prime piece of online real estate where you can brand yourself, build credibility and appeal to large audiences. Before anyone reads one word of text, they can visually see your message. Create a LinkedIn background page using a simple, fast and inexpensive online graphics program called Youzign. This helps you build a clear image of who you are and what you do.


The bottom line is that optimizing your LinkedIn profile is more powerful than an updated resume. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until you are unemployed, start now!


Bob Harrington Associates has been in the executive search business for 20 years and can help you find the best people for your business.

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